Sideshow attractions were once a staple of the entertainment industry in a time when compassion was less a requirement and anything unusual was seen as potential material to be put on display. This was a time when real life monsters would inevitably be captured or otherwise obtained by the owners of such a show and placed on display for review by the masses – for a price. But in this age the sideshow attraction has been left behind by electronic means of entertainment and information sharing. But somehow in 2011 one man is still managing to keep the old institution alive thanks to a jar of formaldehyde and a story about his captured fairy.
Fairies, or wood spirits, are perhaps as old as the practice of sideshows themselves, but rarely did they ever mix with one another. Whether this was because it was too difficult to obtain (or fake) in simpler times or because the creatures themselves were impossible to see is something that will remain a matter of debate by believers for years. But this newest fairy tale story of rags to riches is anything but a Cinderella story. The explanation offered is in fact fairly macabre.
The story of unemployed 22 year old Jose Maldonado begins with tragedy after he lost his job as a construction worker in a harsh economic climate. But then, as he was out and about picking guavas near his home in Guadalajara he found a peculiar creature fluttering about. He knew his salvation had come. Maldonado said when speaking with newspapers he believed it to be his fairy godmother. Which is why we have to ask how it later ended up suspended in a jar no longer moving and floating in formeldahyde. Now Maldonado is showing the figure off to curiosity seekers and accepting donations for the privilege to photograph it – and generating quite a buzz doing it.
Of course the real answer is far less disturbing, say skeptics who note the similarities the figure has to a simple tiny action figure. Maldonado, who has turned his discovery into a long lost institution has made his way from construction worker to carnival ringmaster in little time at all – and even gained international attention after his story broke. Skeptics also point out that the figure is generally photographed face down.
But real or not it has reignited an interest in the paranormal sprites allegedly seen worldwide by travelers, mystics, shamans, and druids since before the days of King Arthur. Fairies are, according to believers, spiritual creatures made manifest in the world to protect the forests. They’re often said to have the ability to trick others and create illusions with the purpose of misleading or simply toying with mortals. The creatures, which are said to be less than an inch tall, are supposed to also on some rare occasions grant wishes to those who have fallen into their favor. Given the vast scope of the powers said to be possessed by these fairies, it’s understandable why some are fearing Maldonado may be generating the ire of these spiritual creatures – whether his sideshow is real or not.